Published on July 12th, 2017 | by James Ayre0
France May Shutter Up To 17 Nuclear Power Plant Reactors By 2025, Environment Minister Says
July 12th, 2017 by James Ayre
France may shutter as many as 17 nuclear power reactors by the year 2025, going by recent comments made by the country’s Environment Minister, Nicolas Hulot.
Hulot noted during an interview on RTL radio that this plan is the result of new Prime Minister Edouard Philippe’s decision to continue pursuing the last government’s goal of slashing nuclear’s share of France’s total electricity generation (from the current figure of 75% to 50% by 2025).
Elaborating on the achievement of those goals, Hulot stated: “To meet the target it’s clear enough that you need to close a certain number of reactors. It could be as many as 17 reactors — we’ll have to take a closer look.”
While I’m in no way a nuclear energy proponent, setting an arbitrary goal like the one discussed above doesn’t seem to be about much more than politics. An approach that would make more sense to me would be simply conducting a thorough investigation of the current state of the country’s nuclear power plants, and then working to quickly decommission those that are now longer safe to operate — as determined by experts who don’t have a financial or political stake in the matter (which may in reality be very hard to find in France).
When operating purely on politics and herd-mindedness, situations like the one in Germany can instead result — meaning, ones in which nuclear energy is phased out more quickly than is truly needed, resulting in a rise in fossil fuel use and emissions.
All of that said, and to be very clear here, I’m very skeptical of new nuclear energy projects, and of the idea that nuclear energy can in any way be economical. New nuclear seems to be several times more expensive than other options. That doesn’t mean, though, that projects that are currently running safely have to be shut down immediately as a sort of political sideshow.